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Senior Research Associate - Metaphor Analysis

Linguistics & English Language
Salary:   £36,386 to £42,155
Closing Date:   Friday 16 December 2022
Interview Date:   To be confirmed
Reference:  1306-22

 The Department of Linguistics and English Language (LAEL) and the ESRC Centre for Corpus Approaches to Social Science (CASS) at Lancaster University are seeking to appoint a Senior Research Associate (RA) to work on the analysis of metaphor as part of a new large (nine million euros in total across sixteen partners) EU Horizon Project: Design-based Data-driven Decision-support Tools: Producing Improved Cancer Outcomes Through User-centered Research (4D PICTURE Project). 

 Treatment decision-making by patients with cancer, their significant others, and clinicians can be complex, in particular when a choice has to be made between different treatment regimens with different risk profiles, potential outcomes, and effects on survival and quality of life. The central aim of the 4D PICTURE project is to transform health care delivery decision-making processes in oncology by redesigning patients’ care paths and integrating evidence-based decision-support tools. To achieve this aim, we will further develop a promising service design methodology to redesign care paths, called MetroMapping. 

 Lancaster University will be leading on a work package to develop a conversation tool (based on our prior work on the Metaphor Menu for People Living with Cancer, and the Metaphor in End of Life Care (MELC) project) for cancer patients, their significant others, their clinicians and citizens based on the analysis of patient experience data and citizen science methods. To that end, we will apply an interdisciplinary approach that combines the strengths of AI-tools (text mining / natural language processing (NLP) techniques), corpus linguistics, and qualitative discourse analysis to efficiently convert the lived-experience stories of people with cancer and their significant others into usable knowledge about how they experience their care trajectory. Our methodology embeds citizen science, or patient and public involvement (PPI), at its core.

 Working together with multiple project partners, the RA will contribute to the analysis of metaphors for cancer in English, and share expertise with colleagues working on other languages (Dutch, Danish and Spanish). 

 The RA will be part of an internationally recognised centre of expertise for corpus-based linguistic analysis (the ESRC Centre for Corpus Approaches to Social Science), and will work directly with Professor Elena Semino (Linguistics), Professor Paul Rayson (School of Computing and Communications, and Professor Sheila Payne (International Observatory on End-of-Life Care). For more details, please see the associated job description and person specification for this position. Potential candidates can also make informal enquiries to Professor Elena Semino ( This is a full-time position expected to start as soon as possible from January 2023, and the RA will join on an indefinite contract. However, the role remains contingent on external funding, which for this position is currently for 30 months. 

Lancaster University are committed to family-friendly and flexible working policies on an individual basis. The Department is also an Athena Swan Bronze Award holder.  

We welcome applications from people in all diversity groups.


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